Types Of Jigsaw Blades
The blade is probably the most important part of the jigsaw apart from its motor. Jigsaw blades are classified into two types: T-shank blades and U-shank blades.
The most commonly used jigsaw blades are T-shank blades. These types of blades are characterized by a tang at the top of the shank. They have surged in popularity over the years as they are compatible with the majority of jigsaw models.
They are also easier to install compared to universal or U-shank blades. Just push the jigsaw’s blade changing button or flip its lever, pop the blade in, release the button or lever, and it’s ready.
U-shank blades have a cutout at the top which resembles the letter “U.” Although they are also known as “universal” shank blades, the truth is they are not as universal as they used to be thanks to the popularity of T-shank blades. Older jigsaw models typically require U-shank blades more than newer models.
Many U-shank blades need to be mounted on the blade clamp using a hex key or Allen wrench. This process is slower and can be inconvenient for some users, so double-check the unit before buying it if you’re after efficiency and convenience.
1. High-speed steel blade – this type of blade is ideal for cutting plastic, wood, and metal. High-speed steel blade is prized for its durability and heat-resistance.
2. High-carbon steel blade – this is ideal for general use. It is durable yet flexible. It is also one of the most affordable blades on the market.
3. Bi-metal blade – if you’re cutting hardwood or metal, then use bi-metal blades. As the name suggests, they are made of two kinds of steel so they are created for durability.
4. Tungsten carbide blade – this is ideal for cutting steel, ceramics, and fiberglass. Tungsten carbide blades are prized for their durability and heat resistance.
Jigsaw Buying Guide
Choose a jigsaw that suits your needs
If you’re an occasional user and you’re going to use the corded or cordless jigsaw saw to cut plywood or any thin material, then a 500W entry-level jigsaw will suffice. A cutting depth of up to 2 inches should be enough for wood and around 1/2 inch for metal.
If you’re going to use it regularly or you’re a professional who works on ceramics, metal or thicker pieces of wood, then it’s best to invest in a heavy-duty 700W jigsaw. Check the blade and make sure it has a cutting depth of at least 3 inches.
But when choosing a jigsaw blade, make sure that the total blade length is an inch longer than your workpiece. Check out this article for a more in-depth guide on choosing the right jigsaw blade.
Cordless or corded?
Before choosing a jigsaw, you have to choose whether you want a corded model or a cordless one. Corded models are perfect for professionals. You can work with it for several hours without worrying that the battery might run out of juice in the middle of a project.
Cordless jigsaws, on the other hand, are ideal for DIYers and occasional users. Since your workshop is probably your garage and it is not going to be used for hours on end, you don’t have to worry about draining the battery and looking for an outlet to charge it.
Bells and whistles
Some jigsaws now come with a laser guide and an LED light. In my opinion, a built-in LED light is handy, but you can do without it. A good old carpenter pencil will do to mark your cuts. But if you have to work in a job site with poor lighting and the model doesn’t have a built-in LED light, then don your trusty headlamp instead.
What about the laser guide? While it is another cool addition, I don’t think that the laser guide has been helpful at all. You’re still better off using that carpenter pencil.
Get a jigsaw with a dust exhaust port
It might seem innocuous for some, but wood dust is one of the most harmful things in the worksite. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as cause respiratory problems, dermatitis, and even cancer.
You can protect yourself by wearing a dust mask while you work. More importantly, get a jigsaw with a dust exhaust port. The port is connected to a vacuum nozzle which sucks all the dust and debris produced by the jigsaw.